Credits – tick.
Killer CV and Matching LinkedIn – tick.
Google yourself google search – double tick.
Now you can apply for jobs. But before you start typing the word runner into LinkedIn STOP!
Screen industry jobs are rarely advertised publicly. Most of us know that on some level but understanding what it means is totally different.
In the Screen Industry people get work through 3 main avenues:
Some charge you to list an advert, some charge you to view the adverts.
Join all the free ones and decide about whether the paid ones are right for you, right now.
A Crewing Agency – places like Freelancers Promotions, RMK Crew or Cato – are approached by productions and asked for crew. They have a limited number of people on their books and they recommend people to productions. To get on their books send the agency your newly minted CV. Bare in mind they charge you a monthly fee to have you on their books and recommend you for employment – they will only take you on if they’re confident they’ve got work for you.
Contact Book. This is the important one!
If I need a runner I try the people I’ve worked with before, I email friends in the industry and ask for recommendations, I think back to the people I’ve met recently who told me they were looking for work or I look through the CVs that have been sent to me.
Production is a weird beast. It takes forever to get something commissioned and funded and then all of a sudden we leap into production. This means getting a team together is often done really quickly. We return to the same people because they’ve got to hit the ground running and it’s easier to do that when we know people. Luckily EVERYONE has been the ‘new kid’ at some point – they’re now the old guard, and soon you will be too.
Getting onto someone’s radar happens by
a) Sending people an email asking for work
b) Meeting them at industry events
First of all connect with everyone on LinkedIn, who is relevant to you finding work.
You’re employed by the Head of Department e.g.
A runner, prod assistant or pro secretary will be employed by Production Managers, Line Producers, Heads of Production.
An art department runner will be employed by an Art Director, Production Designer or similar.
The camera team is employed by the DOP, a Unit Manager employs the unit crew, Make Up juniors are recruited by Make Up heads. A first AD will be instrumental in picking the 3rd AD.
Yes you can connect with directors or producers but often they don’t employ people so focus your time and energy where you’ll get results.
Get hold of people’s email addresses (you can google people, find their CV at crew agency websites, make an educated guess for people employed by a company). Email them a short professional note asking for work. Please don’t feel embarrassed about it – it’s how we get work!
Say something like…
Hello INSERT NAME
I am an early career INSERT JOB TITLE YOU WANT. I particularly loved the work you did on INSERT NAME OF SHOW THEY WORKED ON – SHOW THAT YOU’RE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN THEM. I enjoyed XXXXXX about it.
I have worked on INSERT NAME OF SHOW and I’m available for work as a INSERT ROLES YOU’RE ABLE AND QUALIFIED TO DO. I was wondering if you had anything available or coming up? I’d love to meet you for a coffee or a zoom meeting to see if I might be a good fit for your future productions.
My CV is attached.
All the best
Keep it short and simple. About 10% of people will reply – don’t expect any more than that. They don’t reply because they’re busy, they forget, their kid has Covid and they’re trying to juggle parenting and work. Whatever!! You and your employment are not their central focus. But just occasionally (about 10% of the time) you will contact the person at just the right moment! And you’ll be on your way.
Next week we’ll finish the series with some tips for not getting overwhelmed, demoralised or defeated!!